Tuesday, October 2, 2012

SpaceX Falcon 9 successfully test fires its engines

SpaceX successfully test fired the 9 Merlin first stage engines of its next Falcon 9 rocket Saturday. This Falcon 9 is slated to launch the companies Dragon capsule on it's first commercial cargo run to the space station Oct. 7.

The rocket, minus the Dragon capsule, was rolled out to the launch pad horizontally and erected to an upright position. SpaceX then proceeded with a simulated countdown ending in a 2 second firing of it's engines. During the test firing the booster was clamped securely to the launch pad.

After the successful test the remaining fuel on board was unloaded, the rocket was rotated back to a horizontal position and rolled back into it's hanger for installation of the Dragon capsule.

Officially called CRS-1, this is the first scheduled cargo delivery to the ISS for SpaceX. In May the company successfully completed a test flight to the station. SpaceX has a $1.6 billion contract with NASA for 12 cargo flights to the orbiting outpost.